March 3, 2012

Chocolate ZALOP

Now back from Paris, I tried again to rearrange the chocolate from Heleen de Vaan and came to this stunning realisation.


Yes mailartists it was indeed ZALOP in disguise. If you managed to guess this earlier, you are eligible for a piece of chocolate fromt he box, which I shall send naked in the mail. If you want a piece leave a comment below, but I cannot be held responsible if you fall ill after eating a piece of chocolate that has been handled by 100+ postal workers.

February 28, 2012

my REAL wall in the Rue de Sevigne, Paris

What better place to take a picture of a load of post than in the Rue de Sevigne in Paris.

Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné (5 February 1626 – 17 April 1696) was a French aristocrat, remembered for her letter-writing. Most of her letters, celebrated for their wit and vividness, were addressed to her daughter.

my REAL wall in the Rue de Sevigne, Paris
Me, Mim and Elena came to her street 400 years later and I wondered whether my REAL wall will be remembered with such fondness in 400 years.

Who knows…

February 21, 2012

my REAL wall at the Centre Pompidou in Paris

my REAL wall at the Centre Pompidou in Paris

This weekend me and Elena went to Paris. I imagine that most of you reading would be thinking that that’s a lovely thing for me to do on the weekend after Valentines day, and yes I guess that as newlywed husband and wife it was pretty nice, but the truth is, we went for something entirely different than romance.

We went for postcards.

Yes, hard as it may seem to believe, this weekend we went to Paris to meet Mim and her husband Chuck, who have been living in Paris for the last 2 months. Mim is a Mailart365 artist, and one of the first past the line, and is also a good friend from the early days of my REAL wall. We’ve been mailing for more than 3 years so it’s like meeting an old friend.

Also on the trip with us was Positively Postal, who helped put these postcards up on a windy Saturday afternoon in Paris.

The other lovely mailartist we met was the lovely and prolific Dean Marks, who is Paris-based, and works mainly with barcodes. And everything else he can get his hands on.

We spent Saturday discovering Paris and Sunday making mailart together and I finally got to make REAL walls with other mailartists. It was great!

A wonderful time was had by all, and it just goes to show that meeting for REAL and putting stuff on REAL walls will always beast that virtual rubbish!

Want to see those postcards a little closer? Check out the gallery below…

February 6, 2012


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but have I told you how fabulous I think Heleen de Vaan is? Well if you didn’t already know, me and Elena think she’s GREAT!

Already a firm favourite since putting together some wonderful pimped photos some years back, Heleen has made us smile month after month, with her wonderful drawings and at Christmas we received a surprise package with her unmistakable writing and drawings on.

Imagine our delight when we found it covered in Postcrossing stamps and filled with…5 bars of chocolate! So to those of you wondering how to get a full feature here on my REAL wall, watch and learn!

Elena saw immediately what the letters meant, but when I laid them out it actualy took me a few days to decipher. Can you mailartists guess what it is yet?

February 6, 2012

Chucks REAL wall 2

Chuck Scalin’s REAL wall in Paris continues to expand with contributions. This wall is particularly exciting for me as me and Elena are going to see it in a few weeks time! We’ll add to it in person.

Here’s what Chuck has to say…

Just wanted to update all of you who’ve been so supportive on my quest to start a wall of my own during our stay in Paris.

Thanks so much for all the mail I’ve received the past few weeks! As you can see from the photo below, My Wall has grown

considerably since I received my first mail art from Katerina who started it all for me.

Thanks again and I look forward to meeting some of you soon!

Chuck (aka Charles-Benoit)

February 5, 2012

my REAL wall – 5 February 2012

It’s been a really busy week this week, what with arranging the very first Roehampton Teachmeet, and I’m still playing catchup with postcards from the end of last year.

Up on the wall today are some lovely new envelopes from Benjamin Shaw Designs and some stickers from an Anonymous source. Over to the right are two cards from some long-time mailart friends, Dumpsterdiver and Heleen and the splashes of green on the wall come from Mim and Hope.

Mailart365ers Lindsay, BrisCris and Dewi are also on the wall for the second time. Dewi actually put that card up himself when he came over to stay!

February 2, 2012

Chucks REAL wall in Paris

Later on this month, Elena and I are heading to Paris with Positively Postal and Katerina to meet Mim and Chuck. We are all mailartists and met through sending post to each other, and we’re going to meet up and make mailart together. We can hardly wait and have already booked a place to stay together.

But even before I get there, I’ve already got a little treat from Chuck in the form of Chucks REAL wall! Here’s his message…

Bonjour from Paris!
My Real Wall!

Just wanted to thank you all for sending mail-art to me in Paris!

What a nice surprise to return from our Bilbao trip to find a deluge of mail-art
correspondence completely filling my mailbox.

A special thank you to my friend Katerina, who sent me my first piece of mail-art in Paris
It started a chain of mail to post on my wall in our atelier–I’ve attached a photo of
my growing collection for you to see.

Also, many thanks Erni for sending me the awesome Spiegelman book–he’s one of my favorites!

After we return to our home in Richmond, Virginia, I will respond with mail-art to all of you also.

Sending you best regards,

Chuck (aka Charl-Benoit in Paris)

Check out my blog of photo images I’ve gleaned from the streets of Paris and Bilbao.

Also, my website is:

January 30, 2012

my REAL wall – 30 January 2012

Gosh what a year 2012 has been and it’s barely started!

Already this month, I’ve taken 4 mailart-related lectures, with another one scheduled tomorrow. Tomorrows talk is part of a big event i’m helping to run at Roehampton university called Teachmeet, where teachers come and share ideas on teaching. Everyone gets 7 minutes to talk about anyidea they’ve used in class, and I’ll be talking about how students at our university used postcards to keep in touch during school experience while teacher training, an initiative I led last year. I’m pretty nervous, as usual, but I’m sure it will go fine.

How is this all related to this wall you may be wondering. Well that postcard in the middle (Getting into Literacy) came from another teacher, @jodieworld, who ran the last Teachmeet I was at, where I talked about my educational postcard project Schoolswaps. I talked about how we still need the postal service despite all these advances in technology, then managed to forget my USB stick in her computer. This postcard accompanied the USB stick in the post, which neatly proves my point.

That lovely pic of a happily married couple comes from my best friend at University, Jay, and shows him and his wife, who really is just perfect for him. Me and Elena went to see them last Wednesday as it was my birthday and we went go-karting, which was great fun.

In the right hand corner you can see a runner drawn by Dewi when he came to stay at our house and went walking in Richmond Park. His eye was caught by the strange hand position of this bearded runner and made him his 365th piece in Mailart365, which he then gave to me by hand in my house, from Canada via Tuscany. now THAT’S dedication! Wish you could join us in France Dewi!

Next to that is the 2nd 365 by Katerina Nikoltsou. She actually got to 365 and sent it to me, but I didn’t get it as she’d put the wrong number on the envelope. So they sent it back to her. Meanwhile she made an exact replica of her 365th piece and sent me that instead. That arrived to me and the other arrived back in Greece. Not wanting me to miss out, she sent me that one too, so i can now say I own 2 #365s from Katerina. Yay!

January 27, 2012

My REAL wall – student school experiences part 1

A couple of weeks ago I presented a lecture to some students at the university where I work on the use of postcards as an expressive tool for an assignment they were to be set.

The idea was that the students were going to create 5 postcards on which they were to tell of 5 incidents that stand out in their memory from their school days.

After introducing my REAL wall and talking about postcards in schools and how they had been used to tell stories from my experience, the students were asked to create their first ones and bring them in this week. This is by the first class and there are some cracking stories here!

The class was such a pleasure to attend. When the students came in, they dropped their cards into a “postbox” by the door. This mean that the students could remain anonymous if they wished. The lesson commenced and halfway through the lesson the students took a break, during which time the postcards were all put up on the board as you see them here.

On the return from their break, I took the students and we took a look at the postcards submitted. Students were asked to look at the postcards and discuss what they thought each one meant and if they related to any of them. They were told that they didn’t need to say which was theirs if they didn’t want to, but pretty soon we had explanations coming in from every student about what their postcards represented. It was GREAT! There were so many experiences, and so many nods from people who had been there.

In the flickr version of this photo (which you get to by simply clicking on the photo), I’ve done my best to recall which stories went with which, so if you hover over the images you’ll be able to read the stories. If you don’t read the stories, do just enjoy the images and ask yourself what they may mean.

At the moment the students are collecting these images up on a class blog, which is private, and at the end we hope to put on a little show, which should be a real gem. It would be really nice for teachers to be able to see the sorts of memories that the children go away from school with. I will also ask the students to upload any images they want to share with readers of my REAL wall so that they can share their experiences with you directly. You all have a treat in store believe me!

A little note for the Thursday group – I’m so sorry I didn’t manage to get a photo of the wall at the end of the lesson as I was chatting and by the time I remembered the postcards had all gone! 🙁